I was sitting in an OKC coffee shop this past Wednesday, getting some work done and anticipating picking my daughter up at Will Rogers World Airport later that night.
Sarah was flying in from South Florida to celebrate a late Christmas with us and her 3 -year-old son, Solomon.
We had our evening planned for a big OKC airport reunion between mother-and-child before a short drive home.
Then my phone dinged with an alert.
I looked down and saw that it was from American Airlines. It said ‘your flight is delayed.’
Sarah was scheduled for a 7:37 EST flight from West Palm Beach Airport to DFW. It was now scheduled for an 8:20 departure.
So that made for an incredibly short connection window at DFW.
American flight 2640 originally was scheduled to land about 9:30ish at DFW with only an hour to navigate the airport before catching a 10:40 flight to OKC. To add yet another layer of panic, a change of terminals was required to find the departure gate.
That appeared to be the Impossible Challenge now. So I called my wife, Paula, to see what she thought.
Sarah also received the text and had already called her mom.
We weighed our options and decided we needed to head to Dallas just in case. Sarah had WiFi on her plane, so she could update us on the odds of making her OKC connection.
I headed home so we could hit the highway.
Then we got another text. The flight was back to 7:37 departure.
Great, we could stand down. Back to the original plan of meeting Sarah at roughly 11:40 in OKC.
Meanwhile, Sarah was headed to the airport in Florida, but got yet another text alert that said departure time was now 8:03 pm. This one added a tag line: “Possible missed connection to OKC.”
We headed south.
Sarah arrived at the airport, but didn’t go directly to the security line because of the apparent delay.
Then the airline dropped the ultimate hammer. Yet another alert. The flight was back to a 7:37 departure.
Sarah and several of her fellow passengers had to hustle through security.
We drove on.
Sarah made the flight and it departed the gate, but sat another 30 minutes or so on the tarmac.
Meanwhile, the pilot made an announcement that the flight would take additional time because they would be forced to fly around thunderstorms looming to the west.
The flight took off, and we drove on to DFW, expecting to get there a full hour before it landed. We arrived about 10 pm and looked on the flight board. Flight 2640 from West Palm Beach was arriving at 10:25.
Whoa! As the flight pulled up to its gate in Terminal C, we got a text alert telling her she had 15 minutes to make the OKC flight at its gate in Terminal A.
Paula and I had gone back and forth as to whether we really needed to make this rushed trip to DFW. But the text confirmed the wisdom of our decision.
It was another 5 minutes or so before Sarah emerged from the plane and walked to the baggage area where we waited.
The lesson we learned: don’t rely on the airlines’ squishy updates. Get to your gate on time and be prepared.
We were tired and frazzled. But the mother-and-child reunion at DFW Airport made it all worthwhile.
We all piled into the car and headed north, back to OKC.